Imagine a modern day Abraham Lincoln, arguably the greatest president in American history, running for president in 2012 under the Republican ticket. Even for the hardcore liberal, this sounds pretty appetizing. In fact, I think he would win an election facing any other American historical figure, past or present.
Now imagine a candidate of his stature, his majesty with the unconditional support of the American people, telling the press that he believes that he sees America becoming “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” All that cheering would turn to crickets before you could say “U.S.A.” Well, that’s what former Speaker of the House and presidential hopeful for 2012, Newt Gingrich, told a church in Texas earlier this week.
Now hold that thought. For some time now, my friend Marcus and I have been trying to plan a road trip across America, filming a documentary painting an accurate portrait of American life, proving to the world that America is more moderate than pictured. We want to show the fictitiousness behind the supposed polarization of red and blue states, of progressives and conservatives. We believe this separation to be a creation of the media, who cooked up these metaphorical gladiators to fight to the death for the enjoyment and excitement of their viewers, and confusing many who consume their poisoned product.
Gingrich, or at least the image he is projecting, represents what I believe to be that small faction of America, further polarizing American politics. The moderate America (the largest faction) is not being heard, and it’s because of their quiet, reserved voices.
William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, warns in his iconic poem, “The Second Coming”, “things fall apart” when “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
The bloodshed that is American politics is capable of being stopped, if and only if the moderate American (the best that lack all conviction) is willing to have their voice heard. We’re not all Red Republicans and Blue Democrats (the worst full of passionate intensity). Moderate America needs to take the reins of this great country, and truly remind us what it once meant to be an American.
Old Abe would be rolling in his grave after learning what has happened to the country that he worked so hard for and even gave his life to unite again after the Civil War.
George Washington would be equally upset. He warned political parties “may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.” I mean, America’s first president knew what he was talking about, right?
In their plight to vault themselves into political power, politicians have sacrificed American unity. This needs to stop in order to save this great country of ours.